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House Passes Defense Policy Bill: The House on Thursday approved the final version of the 2010 defense authorization bill by a vote of 281 to 146, leaving the Senate’s vote as the final step before this legislation goes to President Obama for signature. On the previous day, House and Senate authorizers came to agreement in conference to provide $550.2 billion in budget authority to the Pentagon this fiscal year as well as $130 billion to support overseas contingency operations. Among the Air Force-related provisions is a prohibition on retiring any C-5A transports—haven’t we heard this before?—until the Pentagon’s operational testers have concluded the evaluation of the first, and to date only, C-5A that was modified with new engines, avionics, and other reliability enhancements to the new C-5M configuration. This operational testing began on Oct. 1. (Conference report summary) (Full text of conference bill, caution, huge file.)